Senators' stock sales under fire after coronavirus tanked markets

Sunday, 22 Mar, 2020

According to the report on USA -based news outlet NPR, North Carolina Senator Burr, also the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, warned his close circles three weeks ago to prepare for dire economic effects of the coronavirus, according to a secret recording obtained.

Loeffler reportedly unloaded the first tranche of stocks with her husband on January 24, the same day she attended a private briefing with Trump administration health officials, including the CDC director. The tweet said "I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio".

Records show that between January 24 and February 14, Loeffler and her husband, New York Stock Exchange Chairman Jeff Sprecher, sold stock worth between $1,275,000 and $3,100,000.

Sen. Richard Burr leaves a closed briefing on intelligence matters on Capitol Hill on December 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Mr Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has also come under fire after U.S. outlet NPR obtained a recording of him warning a group of wealthy constituents last month about the dire economic impact of the coronavirus, at a time when the Trump administration was publicly downplaying the threat.

Loeffler said she wasn't informed of the sales and purchases until February 16, three weeks after they were made. They also purchased three stocks for between $450,000 to $1 million, including shares in Citrix, a software company used for teleconferencing that's one of the few that's gained value amid the coronavirus outbreak. The also sold off stocks in the retail store chain Ross, auto parts seller Autozone, manufacturer Catepillar Inc. and Delta Airlines.

Loeffler responded on Twitter by calling criticism of her stock sales "a ridiculous and baseless attack".

Sen. Loeffler followed suit, saying she's willing to open an investigation.

There have been some reports that this might not be as nefarious as it seems-that these dealings were likely done by the lawmakers' financial advisers, possibly without their knowledge at all, and that those experts would have had reason to believe the market would be taking a substantial drop soon.

"Maybe there is an honest explanation for what he did", Carlson said. The contrast between their public positions and their sales, which saved them millions of dollars combined, has given rise to calls for their resignations and possible prosecution for insider trading.

"Burr knew how bad it would be".

Fox News' Tucker Carlson last night went on a tear against Senator Richard Burr over his massive stock dump and tonight confronted another senator under scrutiny for the same, Senator Kelly Loeffler.

Two other members of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, and Senator James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, also sold stock after the briefings, according to financial records.

Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, simply tweeted: "Members of Congress should not own individual stocks, period". "He needs to resign", she added. "I do not have any involvement in my investment decisions", he said in a statement.

On February 26, the day before Mr Burr met with donors, Mr Trump told the American public: "We're going very substantially down, not up" in the number of infected.